From an East African orphanage to a New York girls club, this model's acing philanthropy.
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Maybelline New York Beauty & Beyond

When model Herieth Paul describes her stunning hometown of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, it's almost as if she's describing a dreamland.

"It's literally the most beautiful place in the world," she says, with a huge smile. "It's so warm and the air is so crisp and it smells like — do you know the smell after it rains? … The sun rays just kiss my skin. And the ocean water is so clear; it's so blue."

But then again, so much of her life sounds like a dream. At the age of 22, she's an "It girl" who's in high demand in the fashion industry.


She travels the world for fashion shows and models for industry icons including Calvin Klein, Roberto Cavalli, and Tom Ford. She has also quickly earned comparisons to the likes of superstars Grace Jones and Naomi Campbell.  Her signature hairstyle, a short afro, helps her embrace her natural beauty, rather than feeling like she's pretending to be someone else.

And that's a powerful feeling, since Herieth never wants to forget about Tanzania and the people there who helped her become the person she is today.

Herieth Paul in New York City. Image via Upworthy.

"Is this a dream? I still can't believe it," she gushes, regarding her blossoming career.

In fact, when she turned 18, Herieth accomplished one of her biggest modeling goals.

"I've always wanted to be a Maybelline girl," she says. She even remembers writing "Maybelline" on a piece of paper and putting it on the wall of her very first New York apartment before she had any other artwork.

So she could hardly believe it when her modeling agency told her the good news: Maybelline had asked her to be their spokesmodel.

But now that she's in the spotlight, Herieth wants to use her success to help other girls reach their goals.

Growing up as a shy girl in East Africa, she never expected to grace the pages of the world's magazines, but she always knew that she'd want to help lift up her community in any way she could. That's because it's not only the gorgeous scenery that makes her love where she came from — it's also the people of Tanzania, who inspire her to give back.

For example, her mother helps run a Tanzanian orphanage, Sachia Society, where Herieth volunteered as a young girl. It was an activity that helped teach her the value of compassion.

"I've learned to respect others," she explains. "Just being able to say … you come from a different upbringing but, you know, we can still get along, can still be friends."

And it was this compassion that ultimately inspired her to give back to people who don't have opportunities like the ones she had.

After all, Herieth knows she wouldn't be where she is today without a little luck and other people's helping hands. At 14, her mom signed her up to audition for a Canadian acting and modeling agency, which Herieth hoped would help her become an actress like the kids she saw on the Disney Channel.

Because she was shy, soft-spoken, and not yet fluent in English, she stumbled through her audition. Fortunately, the agency still saw her potential and gave her a chance to model instead of act.

Before that, she says, "I never thought modeling was an option."

Image via Upworthy.

That's why, throughout her entire career, she has continued to support the Tanzanian children back at Sachia Society in order to hopefully open doors for them and expand their horizons through education. She sends money from each of her paychecks to help them pay for things like electricity, food, and books.

"The amount of joy it brings the girls and the boys at the orphanage — it's better than anything you can imagine," she says. "The feeling of being able to give back to my own people in my own country just makes me feel so happy."

In addition to her philanthropic work back in Tanzania, Herieth also shows up for kids in New York City.

She helps mentor girls with the Lower East Side Girls Club, an organization that offers young women free programs in leadership, entrepreneurship, arts and sciences, and more.

"There's so much to be said about being a support system," she says.

Herieth volunteering at Lower East Side Girls Club. Image via Upworthy.

She loves the chance to ask the girls how they're doing so they know that somebody cares, and she likes encouraging them to believe in themselves just as much as she believes in them.

After all, if she hadn't believed in herself, the shy girl from Tanzania wouldn't have become the role model she is today.

Herieth believes everyone deserves to celebrate their own unique beauty.

She glows from the inside out as she discusses what it takes to believe in yourself in spite of the obstacles in front of you.

Image via Upworthy.

"Every time I feel like I have low self-esteem, I try to think, you're here for a reason and you're meant to be here," she says. And that's exactly the message she wants to pass on.

Perhaps growing up in a place that seems like a dreamland helped her realize that children's beautiful dreams can become reality.  

"I see beauty everywhere," she says. "Every time I travel … I see beautiful people, but not because of how they look, but with their hearts and their beautiful minds. I feel like beauty is just the energy that you give out into the world."

For more on Herieth's work giving back to others, check out this video:

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.